After two years of the pandemic, a major challenge this year has been inflation.
To look back at the year in inflation, Global News reporter Aishwarya Dudha spoke to store owner Tracy Bosche, economist Jason Childs, and a consumer famously known as YQR Coupon Bae — Raiza Ocampo.
Q. Jason, could you give us a review of the year that was in inflation?
A: We’re seeing some of the highest inflation rates I had seen in the last 40 years. This really began at the end of last year, the end of 2021, ramping up through early 2022 and peaking sort of in the summer at around eight per cent.
That was driven primarily by house price inflation, shelter inflation, gas prices and grocery stores. Those were the big leaders. And now it’s moved out from those sectors into the broader economy.
Q. Tracy, what are you seeing from wholesalers? What is your experience been like over the last year as a store owner?
A. We’ve certainly seen a jump in our prices on costs of the items that we’re bringing in, and that’s something that we all have to deal with. It seemed like it took a little bit longer for us to have to change some of that stuff, but we’ve certainly seen it as well.
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Q. Raiza, what is different for you as a consumer? What have you been doing differently?
A. This year, more than ever, I’ve been just trying my best to prep my grocery list ahead of time and make sure that I have price matches available and as well as using other resources like cashback apps to get more money back. So I’ve been very diligent with that.
Q. Jason, what are your thoughts on how people’s behaviour has changed over the year? What are they doing differently?
A. At the beginning of the year, we weren’t seeing a lot of changes. People were coming out of the pandemic in two groups — those that were really struggling and those that came out of the pandemic flush with cash because they hadn’t been commuting to work and those kinds of things, but they were still getting a paycheque there.
So that didn’t affect spending very much until we got sort of into that mid-summer months. And we saw some softening of consumer spending towards the end of the year. And now you’re seeing a lot less consumer spending and you’re seeing people move downmarket. Things like dry pasta are moving off the shelf much more aggressively than they were at the beginning of the year as people make substitutions at the grocery store.
Read more: To fight the rising cost of living, experts share ‘inflation hacks’ for the grocery store
Q. Talking about grocery stores. Raiza, do you think more people are using coupons and discount strategies over the last year?
A. I would definitely agree, especially looking at social media and how not just my following but also fellow couponers on social media has also grown. Back in the day, we think couponing is just mom sitting around tables and clipping coupons. But these days, couponing has evolved with digital coupons and cashback apps and that’s what I am seeing.
Q. Raiza, could you give us a few tips, tricks on how people can get serious about saving money at the grocery stores?
A. I would always recommend to anyone who’s starting to just try to save some money at a grocery store to simply download the Flipp app. I always start with a price match app because you’re able to browse digital flyers through your area and see what prices are on sale and then shop at stores that have ad match policies and where you can show the picture on the Flipp app and the cashiers will simply price match that item.
I think that’s the easiest way to save 50 per cent or even more.
And then you add cashback offers on top of that and coupons, then you’re getting so much money back. So that’s what I recommend doing step by step with the Flipp app and then cashback apps.
More to come on inflation hacks in the next part of this series…